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The Y-Haplogroup J2b_455-8 Project
Studying J2b with DYS455 = 8

The value 8 repeats on Short Tandem Repeat (STR) marker DYS455 (Family Tree DNA marker #16) is very rare. There is a group of a few Ashkenazim who are in Haplogroup J2b2 with fairly closely matching Y-STR profiles. They have a rare deletion event of three repeats in DYS455 which exist so far only in one other haplogroup (I1a). They also have the unusual value of 19-20 on YCAii. The International Society of Genetic Genealogy (ISGG) called at one time their haplogroup subclade as J2b2e. However, since then they stop using that subclade name because they are now using only single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in defining their haplogroup subclades and the e was based on a STR.

Family Tree DNA also had change the way they call their Y-DNA haplogroup subclades. They are now naming them the major haplogroup following by the latest positive SNP that was tested. The way they used to define them was to add a number or letter for new each newer SNP mutation they found. This however in some haplogroups produced a series of characters 18 characters or longer. Therefore members of this projects would have several different haplogroups listing based on which SNPs they were tested on. Below is the list of old haplogroup names with the new ones with Years Before Present (ybp) estimated by
            J became J-M304 formed 42800 ybp, TMRCA 31300 ybp
            J2 became J-M172 formed 31300 ybp, TMRCA 27700 ybp
            J2b is now either J-M102 or J-M12 formed 27700 ybp, TMRCA 18100 ybp
            J2b2 is J-M241 formed 13300 ybp, TMRCA 9700 ybp
            J2b2a is J-L283 formed 9700 ybp, TMRCA 8500 ybp
            J2b2a* is J-Z628 formed 5200 ybp, TMRCA 4400 ybp
If we all have been tested on SNP Z628, we would all be listed now as J-Z628 at Family Tree DNA. This is because the defining mutation for our subclade is DYS455 becoming the 8 happened around 900 ybp after all the above SNPs. Therefore there is no reason to order any advanced SNP Testing for any of the above SNP. There are two SNPs, CTS3617 (TMRCA 3900 ybp) and CTS6190 (TMRCA 2900 ybp), that everyone may have but were tested only by a couple of our members. Also all other SNPs that were tested to this date are negative. That include both Z638 and Z1296 which several of our members tested as negative. (The reason we know this is that we allowed Ronald Nicely with DYS455 = 11 into our project so we can compare his SNPs with ours. If we both have the same SNPs, then the SNP happened before our progenitor. Thanks you Ron.)

Other testing companies are using other naming method and one may see us listed as J2b2* or maybe even J2b2a1a1b1a. However some people listed as such will have 11 and not 8 on DYS455 because these companies also are using only SNPs and the * means there could be other SNP mutations that they did not tested for.

Dr. Whit Athey in his article about our sub-haplogroup in the "Journal of Genetic Genealogy", said that our haplogroup is less than 1000 year old and was Ashkenazims. (You can watch him on the 2009 television show "Tracing Your Family Roots" talked about our group.) Using the STRs values of all members that were tested on as least 25 markers the estimate now is about 900 years ago.

We presently have 135 different surnames from the 186 people with surnames. The reason for this is that most Ashkenazims did not take surnames until the late 1700s and early 1800s. Before then, they were known are "name son of name". The people known to be a J2 with DYS455= 8 came from eight difference sources: members of this Family Tree DNA Project (78), others tested at Family Tree DNA (77), Y-search (13), Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation (SMGF) (3), (13), DNA Heritage, Dr. Athey article (2), and Dr. Hammer and others' sample of Jewish priesthood (15).

All but one family of the project have a family lore of being an Kohanim. In a recent Jewish priesthood study by Dr. Michael F. Hammer with others, we were 6% of all the Kohens. Including the other J2 Kohens, the total were 43% of the Kohanim. When members of our group asked Bennett Greenspan, President of FamilyTreeDNA about this, his answer was

The CMH appears to be in J1 instead of J2...however there is a minor subgroup in J2 that has the oral tradition of being Cohanim. As you probably know the historian Josephus says that during the later Temple II period the position of Cohanim Godal became corrupted with people with $$$ purchasing the position, but we can't ever be 100% sure whether the major group in J1 or the minor group in J2 is the real "McCoy" so to speak.
However, several researchers looking at the haplotypes of the J1s Cohanim, estimated that their most recent common ancestor (MRCA) lived not earlier than 2000 years ago. Having more people with a value, do not means that value is older. In our subclade we have several samples the number of people with the mutation have more than the number without the mutation. The first is on DYS 393 that went from 12 to 13 about 600 years ago. Within these, there was a differ type of mutation about one hundred years later when one copy of 13 overwrites the copy of 18 on DYS464.

Members of this project only can look at the Y-DNA STR table of the members. The Family Tree DNS's haplogroup project is divided into 5 groups.

11213-14-15-1835-39900 years
21313-14-15-1835-39600 years
31313-13-14-1535-39500 years
41313-13-14-1535-38?? years
51313-13-14-15?? 500 years
613?? ?? 600 years
The first group is the oldest and is the one the progenitor would be in. Everyone in this group has their time to most recent common relative (TMRCA) about nine hundred years ago. The second group is for people who had the mutation on DYS 393 from 12 to 13. The MRCA of this group lived about 600 year ago. Then about 500 years ago, there was the overwrite mutation on DYS 464 which formed the third group. Then the fourth group have a mutation on the fast mutating marker CDY. The last two groups did not have enough markers so they could not be placed into group 2, 3 or 4.

So far, everyone with DYS393 value of 13 with test result of DYS455 have 8 on the later. Therefore the chances that everyone that match one of the project members with only 12 markers and with DYS393 = 13 also are welcome in the project.

William E. Howard III has developed a method that use correlations for the analysis of pairs of 37 markers Y-STR haplotypes which he named RCC. Each RCC is roughly equal to a little less than 50 years. He then used a computer program called Mathematica to make the tree which is shown below. Because of randomness of mutations, the pairing could be off by up to 300 years. The way you can estimate when the MRCA between any two persons lived, find the RCC at the junction point connecting the two and multiply it by 50. This would give you an time estimate within 300 years. RCC values when paired have a standard deviation of about 3, or 150+ years, but the RCCs of the junction points probably are slightly more trustworthy.

We also have one person with another type of STR mutation. This person have 6 copies of DYS464 instead of the usual 4 copies.

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Note: All time estimates are based on the mutation rates of John F. Chandler as listed in Journal of Genetic Genealogy 2:27-33, 2006. Other people may use other mutation rates. For example, the Heinila STR-mutation rates will give an earlier date by about 40 percent. Also the years per generation that I used was 28.8 which may be too low.